Mark Sedwill joins Rothschild investment bank

Ex-cab sec's former colleague Clare Moriarty to train rail execs, appointments watchdog Acoba reveals
Lord Sedwill stepped down as cabinet secretary this summer. Photo: Simon Dawson/PA Wire/PA Images

Mark Sedwill is joining investment bank Rothschild & Co In his first major private-sector role since stepping down as cabinet secretary.

As a senior adviser to the global firm, Lord Sedwill will aim to help Rothschild to “achieve their strategic global ambitions as well as helping to connect to and advise clients across the global advisory, wealth and asset management and merchant banking businesses”.

The former national security adviser will also host dinners and events promoting the business, according to a letter from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments giving the go-ahead to the paid, part-time role.

As well as the usual conditions on business roles for former civil servants, Acoba said Sedwill should be subject to a specific condition that “makes clear that… Lord Sedwill should not advise Rothschild or its clients on work with regard to any policy he had specific involvement or responsibility for as cabinet secretary and/or national security adviser”.

The clause was set out because it is impossible to identify Rothschild’s potential clients, and that it is therefore possible Sedwill may be asked to work with organisations affected by policies the ex-cab sec had direct involvement in, the letter said.

As with other appointments for ex-officials, Acoba advised that Sedwill not take up his role for three months after leaving government; that he should not disclose privileged information or insight; and that he should not lobby the government on behalf of his new employer for two years after leaving the civil service.

The letter drew particular attention to the latter provision, noting the risk of a perception that Rothschild was benefiting “unfairly” from his network and influence.

The committee noted that Sedwill’s government roles would have given him access to privileged information – in particular, relating to Brexit and the UK’s transition negotiations. This could provide Rothschild with insight “unavailable to its competitors”, including insight into future trade agreements, it said.

In light of this, the letter stressed that Sedwill “should specifically avoid giving his employer privileged insight into the possible negotiating strategy of the UK government in relation to the UK’s exit from EU, deriving from his time in service”.

However, it also noted that information Sedwill had access to would likely have been high level and not specific to a particular company.

Moriarty to train rail leaders

As Sedwill moves into his advisory role, his former colleague Dame Clare Moriarty will take up a post training rail executives.

Moriarty, who was perm sec at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs then the the Department for Exiting the European Union until the beginning of this year,  will sit on the board of Connected Leaders, a leadership programme for senior execs in the rail sector.

In her application to Acoba, Moriarty said the new programme was designed to "address the fragmented nature of leadership in the rail sector by bringing together leaders from [the Department for Transport], Network Rail, train operating companies and supply-chain companies to learn and develop together".

The programme is sponsored by Network Rail.

Moriarty has experience in the rail sector as a civil servant, having been director general of rail at DfT for two years. She is also a special representative for the department on Transport for London and a "critical friend" on DfT's review into TfL's finances.

Moriarty's appointment is subject to the usual rules on lobbying and privileged information, Acoba said.

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